By LITO RULONA
Cagayan de Oro City Price Control Council (CPCC) and the City Council’s Committee on Trade, Commerce and Industry, in a joint effort has responded to the call of President Rodrigo Duterte’s acquired information on the identities and whereabouts of some rice hoarders nationwide and even has threatened to break open their warehouses, if he sees it necessary.
CPCC vice-chairman Atty. Egay Uy during the CPCC latest meeting held over the weekend claimed that they have raw reports that rice hoarders is present in some warehouses here in the city.
He said the CPCC along with city council’s committee on trade, commerce and industry chaired by City Councilor George Goking will conduct another round of surprise inspection to unscrupulous rice traders.
“We will not hesitate to enforce our own laws on these illegal acts,” he said.
Last February 21 and 22, at the height of the public perception that there was a shortage of rice in the market, CPCC and City Council Committee collaborated with the National Food Authority (NFA) to inspect warehouses of traders, wholesalers and retailers.
Uy said the CPCC and the council is ready to assist and continue the collaboration to put a stop to the alleged hoarding of rice.
“The NFA should have done this on a regular basis,” he added.
He said the collaborative bodies will also keep track of the violations committed by rice traders vis-a-vis the Philippine Grains Standardization Program (PGSP) of the NFA.
“Violators should be penalized if they do not comply religiously to the standards of the PGSP,” he added.
However, Goking said there were some violations committed by some rice traders and warehouses especially on the health and sanitation standards for food products which rice is among on the top list as part of the basic commodities.
“Duna kita’y nakita didto nga ang ilang bugas wala gani;’y tarima nga gigamit. Gibutang lang sa semento og gina-ihi-an sa mga ilaga og iring sa palibot. We will also include on the prices of rice kay grabe ang pagsaka karon. Naay gasakay sa panahon,” he said.
As of the first week of July, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed retail prices of regular-milled and well-milled rice were now P41.07 and P44.69 a kilo, respectively. These were 8.77 percent and 6.84 percent higher than prices in the same period last year.
Similarly, wholesale prices of regular-milled and well-milled rice reached P38.69 and P41.87 a kilo, respectively. Compared to year-ago levels, these are 9.98 percent and 7.52 percent higher.
But Goking said on the fast few weeks, well-milled rice is now peg within the range of P50 to P55 per kilo. This resulted in about 10-percent increase in current rice prices compared to year-ago levels. Rice prices have been increasing for the last 26 weeks.